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To catch the Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay, animal trapper plans to use a monkey

Published Oct. 23, 2012

A trapper will try to nab the Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay by baiting it with one of its kind.

On the lam since January 2009, the monkey has evaded capture many times. Efforts to catch it have intensified in recent weeks after it bit a woman.

Vernon Yates, a trapper hired by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to catch the monkey, plans to use the new strategy this week.

It's a classic honey pot scheme, but instead of luring the rhesus macaque with a female, Yates is using Doc, a 1-year-old male. If all goes according to plan, Doc will sit inside a custom-designed trap and snack on fruit, enticing the Mystery Monkey with companionship and food.

"He's not a solitary creature; he's a social creature and he needs his own kind," Yates said. "If he sees another monkey in the cage eating, then he's going to assume that it's safe and hopefully he'll go in the cage and get trapped."

Yates said he has used the same method on roosters and chickens before, but never on monkeys. He would not say where or when he plans to use the trap, noting that the monkey has his defenders who might try to foil the plan.